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In Kyrgyzstan, Cats Take Center Stage

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Cat fanciers across central Asia come together a few times a year to fete their feline friends in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city. In October, this pair of Scottish shorthairs turned up to the festival dressed in their autumn best.

Could Kyrgyzstan become the cat lovers’ capital of the world? Its capital city, Bishkek, has scratched out a place on the map, thanks to one dedicated group of feline enthusiasts.

KyrgyzFelinologiya, founded in 1994, hosts several cat shows a year, drawing fans from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Open to members and non-members alike, the shows welcome felines of all stripes, from common house cats to exotic purebreds.

Here’s a look at some favorites from the Bishkek shows in 2016 and years past, including creatively dressed creatures (both feline and human).

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A Highland Straight cat takes in the crowd at March’s show in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as this owner showed her Scottish Straight cat in March.

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Here comes the bride, a stoic Sphynx cat who showed off its wedding dress and parasol during a show in 2012.

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Yarr! This Oriental cat dressed as a pirate at a 2013 show.

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A cat owner at a 2015 show presents her Maine coon in all its massive glory.

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Just imagine curling up with a good book and this librarian-like Scottish fold, spotted at a 2013 show.

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A pleasantly rotund British shorthair “waves” at the crowd (with a little help from its owner) during a 2013 show.

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And that’s a wrap for this wrinkly Sphynx cat, which looks ready to call it a day during a 2015 show.

2016 in numbers